Pardoned Lanuza flying home a free manBy Maila Ager
MANILA, Philippines—After 13 years of imprisonment in Saudi Arabia, pardoned Rodelio “Dondon” Lanuza is now on his way home, Vice President Jejomar Binay announced on Wednesday.
Binay, also presidential adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers’ (OFW) Concerns, said Lanuza will arrive from Dammam Thursday, September 19.
“I would like to announce that tomorrow afternoon, our compatriot who have long been jailed , who was sentenced to death in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is arriving. He is Dondon Lanuza,” he said during an interview on the sidelines of the Regional Scouts Summit in Leyte.
Lanuza was sentenced to death in 2001 for killing a Saudi national, who had allegedly tried to rape him the year before. He was pardoned after paying the victim’s family 3 million Saudi Riyal or about P35 million in blood money.
The Philippine government and supporters of Lanuza raised the equivalent of 700,000 Saudi Riyal while King Abdullah paid the remaining amount.
Binay then reiterated his thanks to the government of Saudi Arabia, especially to King Abdullah, for shouldering 2.3 million Saudi Riyal of Lanuza’s blood money.
“This is a rare instance where the king of Saudi Arabia contributed millions of pesos to save someone’s life,” said the Vice President.
“We would like to again extend our thanks to the king of Saudi Arabia, to private groups, and to our Embassy for their effort,” he said.
Binay also commended Ambassador Ezzedin Tago and the staff of the Philippine Embassy-Riyadh for their role in helping secure Lanuza’s freedom.
Tago told Binay that Lanuza would go straight to his home in Sampaloc, Manila upon arrival.